Village gossip

The fortuity of today’s social gatherings has exceeded design. The three communal occasions of which I speak were replete with luck and fortune. Likewise the outcome of the unplanned assemblies was one of personal fulfillment. There was the thrill of having accomplished the clouds of anxiety surrounding the recurring question, “I wonder how they’re doing?

In a matter of hours – and unconnected except through coincidental shared friendship – I encountered two women whom I have known for almost half a century and whom I haven’t seen for about two years or more, people with whom I have a history of long association and with whom I have completely lost contact. Another accidental meeting was with a woman (whom I have never before met unless unknowingly at her grandmother’s funeral) who is the daughter and granddaughter of dearest friends of my late parents in particular. She even recollected that my mother had the bluest eyes. And the first tête-à-tête was with a woman who like all of the others is one with whom I have had business associations in the past, now long ago.

These extraordinary circumstances arose on a day which began very differently as regards either gusto or happiness.  Lately I have allowed myself to become a victim of myself, fretting about things which aside from stock impatience have no urgency; complaining as a regular old fogey; generally being insular and glum. Will you, dear Reader, permit to blame COVID? I feel as though the illegitimacy of my complaint requires a more extenuating authority than inexcusable childishness.

This morning, after agonizing over getting out of bed, getting in and out of the shower and bathing myself, having to prepare (and eat) breakfast, and a mountain of other dreadful such inhibiting horrible things, we went for a purgative bicycle ride about the village. I say “village” because the geographic and cultural characterization arose this morning during our conversation with the woman we first met early along the path of our customary cycling route.  By uncommon frequency this woman and I have spoken together as recently as two days ago. But today’s congregation surpassed mundanity because we spoke (or should I say “gossiped”) about the events surrounding our latest meeting. Neither of us added any material intelligence to the matter though subsequently we very comfortably dissolved into an bubbling discussion of antiquities in general and Montreal antique stores in particular. We briefly surpassed that retail indulgence by attacking with the heartfelt purity of true country folk the insinuation of “new people “ in town, those who have by our summary account effectively contaminated the erstwhile civic generosity and neighbourliness.

Catching up with old friends or a new family connection has a special essence. It instills a buoyancy seldom experienced. Naturally at our age it is impossible to escape the celebration of poor health. It is equally assured that somebody is about to move or has recently moved. This instantly triggers excitement concerning location, size, construction and a host of other poorly disguised liabilities. The younger woman by contrast embraced educational pursuit and improvement, similarly invigorating.

More important than real estate or a review of pharmaceuticals is the laughable memories. Rewinding good times plugs the undefinable emotional holes, confirms a purpose and meaning to life; and makes for terrific gossip.